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News / April 5, 2017

Winners Announced for BC’s Biggest Art Prizes

Carole Itter, Lyse Lemieux and Grant Arnold are all being honoured for their contributions to the West Coast’s art community.
Lyse Lemieux, “Ovals for Richmond” (installation view), 2016. Courtesy Richmond Art Gallery. Photo: Dennis Ha. Lyse Lemieux, “Ovals for Richmond” (installation view), 2016. Courtesy Richmond Art Gallery. Photo: Dennis Ha.

The winners have been announced for British Columbia’s biggest art awards.

Carole Itter has won the $30,000 Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. Lyse Lemieux is the winner of the $12,000 VIVA Award. And Grant Arnold is being honoured with the Alvin Balkind Curator’s Prize.

Itter Carole Itter, Grand Piano Rattle: a Bosendorfer for Al Neil, 1984. Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Acquisition Fund. Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Interdisciplinary artist, writer, performer and filmmaker Carole Itter was born in Vancouver in 1939 and studied at the University of British Columbia, the Vancouver School of Art and at L’Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome, Italy. Her sculptures, collages and performances, as well as the large-scale assemblages/installations, are strongly influenced by the people and places where she has lived. Over the many years she has lived in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, Itter has incorporated discarded domestic and industrial items found in attics and basements, lanes and thrift shops, and received objects from friends into her assemblages. Among many other exhibitions, her work was included in the international touring exhibition “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” which was at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2008.

VIVA Award honouree Lyse Lemieux is a Vancouver-based artist whose 30-year art practice has focused primarily on drawing. Her work is almost always referenced to the human body in all its strengths and its frailties. Lemieux grew up in Ottawa and went on to first study art at the University of Ottawa; she later graduated from University of British Columbia in 1976. Oscillating between representation and abstraction, her mixed-media work has primarily been about the bodily form—whether outlined by black line, filled in with ink wash, fabric or collage, mounted on paper, wood or other supports. For over three decades, she has exhibited her work extensively in public galleries. She is presently featured in “Vancouver Special: Ambivalent Pleasures,” on view at the Vancouver Art Gallery this spring.

Arnold Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, giving a guided tour of “Harry Callahan: The Street” (2016). Photo: Pradeep Singh, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Grant Arnold is curator of British Columbia art at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where he has contributed to the gallery’s exhibition and collecting activities since 2005. He was previously senior curator at the Art Gallery of Windsor and extension coordinator at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. Arnold first studied photography in the mid-1970s, a time when the medium had a subordinate status in the art world, at the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts and the University of Saskatchewan. He holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of British Columbia. Over the past 30 years, he has organized more than 60 exhibitions of historical, modern and contemporary art, with photography always holding an especial interest. Some of his projects at the Vancouver Art Gallery have included “Rodney Graham: Canadian Humourist” (2012) and “SPIRITLANDS:t/HERE: Marian Penner Bancroft Selected Photo Works 1975–2000” (2012).

A public ceremony honouring the recipients is due to take place at 7 p.m. on April 19 in the Great Hall of the BC Law Courts building in downtown Vancouver. The prizes will be presented by the Vancouver Art Gallery.